Skopje is experiencing an expansion in shopping malls. The offered content changed consumer habits. Lider sought expert opinion on the current trend.

“The opening of these kind of shopping centers should be seen in a wider context, because it creates economic and social opportunities, on one hand, it is creating jobs, and on the other hand it is improving the quality of supply. The new job positions stimulate higher wages and salaries, the economy grows as well as the standard of the population grows. These malls are encouraging the performance of the national economy, because of the products which they offer from domestic producers and therefore we are getting a positive development dimension," said the university professor Jovan Pejkovski.

Some say there are too many shopping centers for a town like Skopje. But the truth is that there is no investor who wouldn’t like to be included in such an adventure - to invest hundreds of millions of euros, without previously making serious analysis of: the consumer habits, the purchasing power of citizens, calculation of how much the buyers will spend, as well as the analysis of the time needed to return his own investment. The calculations certainly includes the customers from the region. And it is them, according to the economists, which can make a significant difference. 

"If we succeed to attract buyers from outside in these malls, the effects will be even greater. For example, in the world there are countries which base their further development on the shopping centers, such as the UAE, Philippines etc. Like for example, in the Philippines, 20 percent of the population works in shopping malls and they participate with about 15 percent of GDP. “So, the shopping centers have great potential," said Nikica Mojsoska-Blazhevski, university professor.

As new shopping centers open, the quality of the supply and the competition grows, and the rents are dropping down. The prices now range from 40 euros per square for a shop from 70 to 110 square meters, or 35 euros per square meter for larger locales.

According to relevant statistics data done by the specialized consulting company for real estate "Forton Macedonia", which refer to the first half of this year, we can notice that 16 percent of the leasable area in the shopping centers is still empty. A quarter of the shops in GTC are unused, while in the other gallery malls this number is around 11 percent. On weekends, or while having some kind of a promotion, the major shopping centers have 20,000 registered visitors in a day, a number which explains the trend of opening new shopping centers in the Macedonian metropolis.